Myths of Greece and Rome Narrated with Special Reference to Literature and Art
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
|Fountain of Cybele (Rhea)||19|
|Minerva and Prometheus||26|
|Ganymede and the Eagle||42|
|The Abduction of Europa||46|
|Apollo and Daphne||69|
|Orpheus and Eurydice||78|
|Apollo and the Muses||89|
|Diana of Versailles||92|
|Venus de Milo||102|
|Fourth Hour of the Night||104|
|Hero and Leander||115|
|Cupid awakening Psyche||125|
|Charon and Psyche||129|
|Venus de Milo and Mars||141|
|The Forge of Vulcan||146|
|Fountain of Neptune||150|
|The Three Fates||164|
|Marriage of Bacchus and Ariadne||180|
|Abduction of Proserpina||185|
|School of the Vestal Virgins||199|
|The Vestal Tuccia||201|
|Genius of Death||209|
|Hercules an Infant||217|
|Hercules and Centaur||222|
|Mounted Amazon going to the Chase||225|
|Hercules at the Feet of Omphale||231|
|Perseus and Andromeda||247|
|Dædalus and Icarus||254|
|Jason and the Dragon||270|
|Œdipus and the Sphinx||284|
|Antigone and Ismene||289|
|Vertumnus and Pomona||302|
|Abduction of Helen||313|
|Parting of Hector and Andromache||322|
|Thetis bearing the Armor of Achilles||327|
|Triumph of Galatea||340|
|Acis and Galatea (Evening)||342|
|Circe and the Friends of Ulysses||348|
|Æneas at the Court of Dido||368|
MYTHS OF GREECE AND ROME.
THE BEGINNING OF ALL THINGS.
MYTHOLOGY is the science which treats of the early traditions, or myths, relating to the religion of the ancients, and includes, besides a full account of the origin of their gods, their theory concerning the beginning of all things.
Among all the nations scattered over the face of the earth, the Hebrews alone were instructed by God, who gave them not only a full account of the creation of the world and of all living creatures, but also a code of laws to regulate their conduct. All the questions they fain would ask were fully answered, and no room remained for conjecture.
It was not so, however, with the other nations. The Greeks and Romans, for instance, lacking the definite knowledge which we obtain from the Scriptures, and still anxious to know everything, were forced to construct, in part, their own theory. As they looked about them for some clue to serve as guide, they could not help but observe and admire the wonders of nature. The succession of day and night, summer and winter, rain and sunshine; [Pg 12] the fact that the tallest trees sprang from tiny seeds, the greatest rivers from diminutive streams, and the most beautiful flowers and delicious fruits from small green buds,—all seemed to tell them of a superior Being, who had fashioned them to serve a definite purpose.
They soon came to the conclusion that a hand mighty enough to call all these wonders into life, could also have created the beautiful Earth whereon they dwelt. These thoughts gave rise to others; suppositions became certainties; and soon the following myth or fable was evolved, to be handed down from generation to generation.
At first, when all things lay in a great confused mass,—
The face of nature, o’er the world, was one;
And men have call’d it Chaos; formless, rude,
The mass; dead matter’s weight, inert, and crude;
Where, in mix’d heap of ill-compounded mold,
The jarring seeds of things confusedly roll’d.”
Ovid (Elton’s tr.).